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Spartak commemorate Lenin Stadium disaster

Published: Monday 22 October 2012, 15.45CET
A minute's silence was held before Saturday's game between FC Anji Makhachkala and FC Spartak Moskva to mark the 30th anniversary of the Lenin Stadium disaster.
Spartak commemorate Lenin Stadium disaster
Flowers at the monument to victims of the 1982 tragedy at the Luzhniki Stadium ©FC Spartak Moskva
Published: Monday 22 October 2012, 15.45CET

Spartak commemorate Lenin Stadium disaster

A minute's silence was held before Saturday's game between FC Anji Makhachkala and FC Spartak Moskva to mark the 30th anniversary of the Lenin Stadium disaster.

The 30th anniversary of the Lenin Stadium disaster, in which it was reported that more than 300 people died, was marked at Saturday's Russian Premier League meeting between FC Anji Makhachkala and FC Spartak Moskva.

The tragedy occurred on 20 October 1982, when Spartak faced Dutch side HFC Haarlem at the Grand Arena of the Central Lenin Stadium, now the Luzhniki Stadium, in the first leg of a UEFA Cup second round tie. A goal scored by Spartak striker Sergei Shvetsov sparked a stampede in which reportedly upwards of 340 people are said to have lost their lives. Official Soviet accounts put the death toll at 66.

The disaster has been blamed on a severe frost which had hit Moscow, causing the stairways leading down from the stands to become extremely icy. With Spartak already 1-0 up, many supporters were starting to leave the ground, but rushed back upon hearing the roar following Shvetsov's goal. The fatal crush occurred as they encountered fans heading down the same stairway.

A minute's silence preceded this weekend's match in Makhachkala. Spartak players took to the pitch wearing T-shirts adorned with the Russian for 'We remember'. Spartak fans who had travelled to the game also displayed no banners other than those exhibiting the same message.

The tradition of Spartak supporters leaving flowers at the Luzhniki Stadium to commemorate the tragedy continued. Many older fans were once again in attendance, along with the director of the club's official fan club. In addition, an special amateur football tournament, the Memory Cup, took place for the fifth time.

The 25th anniversary of the tragedy was marked in 2007 by a friendly between former Spartak and Haarlem players, who met in a charity match to raise funds for the families of those who died. In 1992, a memorial was opened at the Luzhniki Stadium to honour the victims.

Last updated: 23/10/12 17.15CET

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